Navajo Rules of Court
(Effective April 1, 1978)

RULE 1.     Scope of Rules.

These rules, adopted by unanimous vote of the District Judges of the Navajo Nation, shall govern the procedure of all Courts of the Navajo Nation and shall become effective on April 1, 1978.



RULE 2.     Court Fees.


All pleadings initiated an action which shall include complaints, petitions, applications, complaints in intervention, and post-decree motions to modify $35.00




All responses to initiated actions which result in new or additional claims and parties which shall include counterclaims, whether compulsory or permissive, cross claims and third party complaints  $25.00





Small Claims Proceedings (complaints and counterclaims); Name Changes $10.00






(a)  All pleadings initiating an action in divorce as set forth in Category 1 above $10.00


(b)   All responses to an action initiating a divorce as set forth in Category 2 above  $10.00


(c)  These fees in divorce actions will continue until 9 N.T.C. § 403 is repealed.  Upon repeal, 4(a) shall be $35.00


  and 4(b) shall be $25.00




Writs of Execution; Wage Attachment; Garnishment; Motions to Show Cause.* $10.00




The Navajo Nation is exempt from filing any of the above fees.  




Any of the above fees may be waived for an indigent party.  


* The fee for Motion to Show Cause at the Alamo Court is presently $10 as revised 8/12/09

RULE 3.     Inappropriate Appeal.

The pursuit of inappropriate or premature appeal tolls the period allowed for appeal or other relief unless it appears to the court from which an appeal is attempted by a preponderance of the evidence that the pursuit of an improper appeal was taken in bad faith in order to obtain delay or for some other improper purpose.



RULE 4.     Court Decorum.

All counsel appearing in court shall wear jacket and tie, if male; and dress or pantsuit, if female.



RULE 5.     Continuance.

Cases shall not be continued upon stipulation of counsel alone, but continuance may be granted by order of the court for good cause shown.  A motion for continuance shall be in writing, signed by the advocate or by the moving party if not represented by counsel, and shall be filed with the court and served upon opposing counsel.  A motion filed less than five days before trial will not be considered or granted unless it is established that unforeseenable or exigent circumstances justify a continuance and that the moving party did not delay unreasonably in seeking the continuance.



RULE 6.     Counsel.

No person shall appear as counsel in any action or proceeding in the Courts of the Navajo Nation unless he is a member in good standing of the Navajo Nation Bar, certified as having passed the bar examination.



RULE 7.     Judicial Officer and Employees—Legal Advice and Assistance.

No employee of the Judicial Branch shall act as legal counsel for any party in any case before the Navajo courts unless such party is a Judicial Branch employee suing or being sued in his official capacity.  This rule does not apply to the actions of a judge in carrying out the duties of his office.



RULE 8.     Surety Bond.

a)        When a surety bond is required by statute, rule or order of the court, the guaranteeing of the performance of the condition shall be sufficient when executed or guaranteed solely by a corporation incorporated under the laws of the United States, or of any state, authorized to do business in any of the states of Arizona, New Mexico or Utah and submitting itself to the jurisdiction of the Courts of the Navajo Nation and appointing an agent for service or process within the Navajo Nation.


b)        If bond is not furnished by a surety company as provided above, at least two individual sureties who are residents of the Navajo Nation in addition to he principal shall be required.  The court shall not accept a bond unless it has been determined from affidavits and other evidence that each surety is worth the amount specified in the bond over and above his just debts and liabilities, exclusive of property exempt from execution and that each surety is subject to the jurisdiction of the court.


c)         When a bond is required of a party, he may, instead of giving bond, deposit with the court lawful money of the U.S., in the sum required in the bond.



RULE 9.     Judicial District Boundaries.

                         See Map of Judicial Districts.


RULE 10.   Telephonic Court Orders.

1.        The Judges of the Trial Courts and the Courts of Appeals of the Navajo Nation may issue telephonic orders as to temporary restraining orders, the arra[i]gnment and releases of prisoners, arrest and search warrants or matters which are urgent or emergency in nature.


2.        A telephonic order may be issued by the presiding judge of a judicial district while out of court or while out of the judicial district, or a telephonic order may be issued on behalf of the presiding judge of a judicial district when absent from his or her court on leave, travel or other absence by the Chief Justice or a judge designated by the Chief Justice.


3.        A telephonic court order must be received from a judge authorized to presiding in the district court and who has jurisdiction over a given matter, and such court order must be received by the clerk of court or deputy clerk of such district.  The Chief Justice may issue such an order in the absence or disability of one judge normally having jurisdiction over a matter.


4.        When a clerk or deputy clerk of court receives a telephonic court order, he or she shall reduce the same to writing in the form of a memorandum or minute entry and immediately file the same.


5.        Upon return to the court issuing a telephonic court order, the judge issuing or authorizing such order shall review the memorandum or minute entry of the order for form and content, and if such entry is correct, the judge shall sign it.


6.        A memorandum or minute entry of a telephonic court order shall have the same force and effect as a formal written order which has been presented to the court, executed by a judge and filed.


7.        The court may order a revised written formal court order in place of the telephonic court order upon the return of the judge having jurisdiction over the matter.



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